Milk builds up Paralympian

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Col Pearse enjoys a drop of moo juice.

Bamawm champion swimmer Col Pearse enjoys a cold drink after training, but you may be surprised at his choice.

“Growing up on a dairy farm in Echuca, Victoria, my drink of choice has always been milk after a long day of training — whether that was running around on the local footy field, or after a big day of swimming,” Col said.

“I’m able to get more out of my performance when drinking milk at the right moments, such as straight after intense training sessions.”

When every second counts in the pool, it’s important that he fuels his body with nutritious food like dairy.

“There’s nothing more I look forward to than my cold chocolate milk after training,” Col said, while promoting World Milk Day on June 1 for Dairy Australia.

“And knowing that milk is naturally fuelling my body with the nutrients I need to recover makes it just that much better.”

Col is the son of Teena and Julian Pearse from Bamawm Extension, who run a 500-cow dairy farm.

A few years ago, Col, who lost his foot in an accident with a mower, moved to Melbourne to ramp up his training regime and with his eye on the major international event, the Paralympics.

At the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London, he won the bronze medal in the men’s 100m butterfly S10 and sixth in the men’s 100m backstroke S10 and men’s 200m individual medley.

At the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Col won the bronze medal in the men’s 100m butterfly S10 with a time of 57:66, three seconds slower than the gold medal winner Maksym Krypak of Ukraine who set a world record.

Col competed in the men’s 200m individual medley SM10 and made the final where he finished fourth.

Col, 20, is now preparing for the selection trials in Brisbane from June 10 to 15 where the Paris Paralympic squad will be chosen.

“I haven't been selected for the Paris Paralympics yet. I have to swim under a qualifying time and be in the top three fastest,” he said

“I’m really confident, the training I have done is the hardest I have ever done in my career. I’m older and stronger than I was a year ago.

“The goal for me is to get onto the podium.”

Col has been swimming 50 to 60km a week.

Australian Dairy dietitian Kristina Gorgievska said World Milk Day was a timely reminder to enjoy milk every day for its unique nutrient package and multiple health benefits.

“Whey and casein are unique proteins only found in dairy foods. These proteins have been shown to supercharge lean muscle development and repair,” she said.

“The electrolytes and fluid in milk are perfectly balanced by nature to help replace the electrolytes and fluid lost through sweat.

“Beyond the sports nutrition benefits, milk and dairy foods in general are associated with a variety of positive health outcomes including stronger bones and teeth, a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and no link to obesity.”

Swimmer Col Pearse after his return from the World Para Championships.